SOM design to set new standard for urban planning

Design firm wins competition for Beijing Bohai Innovation City plan

Beijing Bohai Innovation City establishes a new model of transit-oriented development.
Beijing Bohai Innovation City establishes a new model of transit-oriented development.

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SOM's 17.6km2 masterplan for Beijing Bohai Innovation City has won an international design competition for the redevelopment of the region.

The design is focused on a redevelopment corridor along the high-speed rail connection between Beijing and the port of Tianjin.

Though incorporating existing infrastructure, the scheme constitutes an ambitious planned city -- and one which, if fully realised, may set a new standard for environmentally-conscious urban planning.

Half of the allocated site will be devoted to natural and other open areas. A feature of the design is high-speed rail for getting in and out of the city, with a focus on foot traffic within the urban centre itself.

"Beijing Bohai Innovation City establishes a new model of transit-oriented development at an unprecedented scale," said SOM project chief designer Thomas Hussey.

"The new district will leverage high-speed rail to bridge two major metropolitan areas and create a sustainable urban environment that concentrates walkable, compact densities around transit stations, while still preserving existing agriculture and green space."

A rapid-transit bus system and electric car fleet are also envisaged, while streets are designed to be cycling-friendlyy. SOM hopes that, combined, the bus system, walking and cycling will account for 80% of private inner-city journeys.

SOM claims its scheme sets "aggressive goals for water, energy, waste, renewable energy and building design efficiency", incorporating a wetland park habitat and a stormwater filtration and cleaning system to return uncontaminated water to the region's rivers.

SOM describes the development is described as encouraging a "a human and family-oriented mixed-use urban community".

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